Two papers in The New England Journal of Medicine report success in new malaria vaccines, said Ed Silverman in Pharmalot. Given to children in Africa, the vaccines reduced malaria infections by up to 65 percent, compared with a test group. The trials were in Tanzania and Kenya, where “use of bed nets and anti-malarial drugs have dramatically reduced the number of malaria cases” already. Researchers can now move to more malaria-stricken areas.
This news “is good—fantastic, in fact,” said Elizabeth Dickenson in Foreign Policy online. First, we’ve never come up with a vaccine against a human parasite before, and malaria is a “capricious and classically difficult-to-fight parasitic infection.” Also, this is the first malaria vaccine given in conjunction with other vaccines, like polio and MMR, and “there was no interference on either side.”
Still, “no one pretends that even with these results malaria is anywhere near beaten,” said Jeffrey Kluger in Time. Before it can reach the nearly one million people who die of the disease each year, the drug needs two more years of testing and more time in “the bureaucratic labyrinth of the approval process.” Even so, the vaccine does bring us “closer to the moment when today’s plague becomes yesterday’s memory.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Christian conservatives have a terrifying new bogeyman: The Christian leftist
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- What the Romney boomlet says about the establishment GOP's feeble 2016 field
- How ancient DNA is rewriting human history
- Confronting our twisted relationship with food
Subscribe to the Week